In the long river of human civilization, technological advancement has stirred up waves of innovation, while the constant renewal of ideas has made the water sparkle and full of life. More than 2,000 years ago, Socrates was keen on dialogues and debating, coming up with new ideas and revelations and eventually becoming the master of Western philosophy. “Wonder is the only beginning of philosophy,” remarked Plato, his student.

As long as there are dialogues and reflection, and the status quo is constantly challenged, a society can make progress. Joanna H, a Dulwich Zhuhai Class of 2022 graduate student, agrees with this point of view. This autumn, she will further her studies in social anthropology in an overseas university -- embarking on a new journey with factual social observations.

Joanna H Y13 Dulwich Zhuhai graduates feature Joanna H, Y13 graduate

Exposure to philosophy and putting it into practice

In the winter break of 2020, Joanna’s mother gave her a copy of What the Philosophers Have Done - a popular book that introduces philosophy in a humorous style and a gossipy tone, instead of naming obscure philosophical theories one after another. The book succeeded in piquing Joanna's interest: "It depicts the history of philosophy, as well as the life stories and theories of different philosophers in a funny way, which I found particularly interesting. I was looking for a way to share these interesting philosophical stories and my thoughts with more people to see if I could spark more thinking."


Leveraging Dulwich Zhuhai‘s curriculum structure designed for holistic education, Joanna soon put her idea into practice in co-curricular activities (CCA).

In Year 12, she founded the Philosophy CCA. With different activity formats of lectures and themed presentations, she was able to explore different philosophical theories and uncover anecdotes about philosophers with her schoolmates. Seeking common ground is a value she holds dear.

"My original intention was to create a networking club for people to share their perspectives. I'm not looking for approval, nor do I care whether people agree with me or not. The key is for them to speak their minds." 

She added, "talking and debating not just help socialise and build connections, but also can encourage people to think about something new, bringing positive changes to the society and ultimately contributing to the progress of civilization."

Embarking on the journey of sociology  

In the second semester of Year 12, Joanna started another CCA called "Social World" to encourage communication and sharing, extending the discussion to broader social issues.

The international education environment at Dulwich Zhuhai, where students are open to new things and different opinions, inspired her enormously. She once invited a lawyer to lecture on the law in her CCA, guiding the students to look at social issues from a legal perspective and making legal knowledge and current affairs livelier. The Social World CCA became a platform for knowledge dissemination and interaction, giving her a great sense of accomplishment.

While leading the Social World CCA, Joanna was also at the critical stage of deciding on her major in university. She realised that, compared to philosophy, which requires a lot of talent and reading, sociology, a derivation from philosophy, is more practical. 

"Sociology focuses on existing phenomena and cases and solving real-life problems, which is more practical and feasible. Its ultimate goal is to promote social progress and contribute to the well-being of humanity. I think this is more in line with my ambition than philosophy,"

After a thorough analysis of relevant university programs, she learned about the prestigious sociology program at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and set social anthropology as her future major, and LSE became her dream school.


The emotional side as a music lover

Although Joanna chose her university major over a broad social concern, she also has an emotional side. This is especially evident when she practices music - she has been a member of the Musical CCA during her four years at Dulwich Zhuhai and has performed in many plays. As a passionate singer, she used to compose music with her schoolmates and sang at occasions like the Founder’s Day concert and the “Call of the 90s” charity event.

collage Music and art performance of Joanna

Joanna also took music at  A-Level. Music has become an indispensable part of her life. 

"I have benefited greatly from the opportunities offered by Dulwich, which inspire students to explore various fields and the possibilities for our personal development."

Joanna has now received the offer to study Social Anthropology from her Dream School LSE, as well as offers from University College London, King's College London, the University of Manchester, and the University of Toronto. Social anthropology is a discipline that delves into social issues based onanthropology, deploying fieldwork as a research method to investigate thesocial behavior and cultural phenomena of different social groups.

Speaking of her upcoming university studies, Joanna revealed, "My subject may seem niche, but it is far-reaching. It explores issues that will benefit society and improve the human condition, which will ultimately benefit every individual in the society, including myself. I am looking forward to this change.”